SU Head Start graduation

Photo Credit: SUCAP

Graduation is on everyone’s minds these days, including the 39 five-year-olds who will be graduating from Southern Ute Head Start on Wednesday, May 23, at 5 p.m. For the first time in the program’s history, the event is not at the school building erected in the 1930s on the campus of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. Due to environmental concerns with out-of-date building materials, 129 of the students and teachers, along with the management team had to relocate to the Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum in October of 2017. Three of those classrooms are part of the six-classroom 2018 graduation that will take place in the courtyard of the Southern Ute Museum.

Head Start and SUCAP staff is working with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe to identify a site for a new school. Community fundraising through the Friends of Ignacio Head Start has thus far included a dance, a drawing for prizes and private donations. The project budget is currently estimated to be $5 million and support will be solicited from the National Office of Head Start, state and regional funders, foundation grants, corporate sponsorship and individuals. The goal is to have a building site confirmed by Sept. 1, 2018.

The Southern Ute Head Start program in Ignacio has been serving children and families since 1968 and added Early Head Start services in 1999.

Head Start and Early Head Start programs support the mental, social, and emotional development of children from birth to age five. In addition to education services, programs provide children and their families with health, nutrition, social, and other services. Head Start services are responsive to each child and family’s ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage.

Head Start encourages the role of parents as their child’s first and most important teachers. Programs build relationships with families that support positive parent-child relationships, family well-being, and connections to peers and community.

Early Head Start serves pregnant women, infants, and toddlers. Early Head Start programs are available to the family until the child turns three years old and is ready to transition into Head Start or another Pre-K program. Early Head Start helps families care for their infants and toddlers through early, continuous, intensive, and comprehensive services.

Nationally, Head Start alumni have gone on to become: Members of tribal councils, business owners, artists, musicians, doctors, teachers, members of Congress, and exceptional parents to their own children. Those who have been touched by this program know the reality of how a Head Start in life leads to success.

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